A little bit about me and my little blog

This is by far not the first cricket blog to be written and it certainly won't be the last (or necessarily the best). But it's mine.

This is mainly an excuse for me to carry on about a sport that has been something of an obsession since I was knee high to a middle stump. An obsession which has never left throughout the many highs (behave, there have been some) and lows (and boy have there been many of those…..) of being and England cricket fan in the years since.

The views and opinions in this blog are entirely my own. Sometimes light-hearted, occasionally irreverent, hopefully never offensive.

What gives this fool the right to have an opinion on this great sport? Where are his credentials I hear you ask? Well I think my catch at mid-on in the inter-house final at Heath Grammar school in 1981 speaks for itself…..

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A return to proper Cricket - the England tour of the West Indies.

Yes, it bloody well was.
The more observant of you out there who read my occasional musings on the exploits of the England Cricket team will no doubt have read my heroic attempt. In essence, manfully trying to get into the spirit of the world cup limited overs thingamajig and follow England's exploits. Believe me, I had the best of intentions in the world to follow brave Captain Morgan and his boys to the bitter end, no matter what normal trials and tribulations accompanied our attempts to negotiate such a competition. 

That intention was pretty blown away in super-duper quick time as we proceeded to plumb depths of cricketing ineptness that even previous England squads hadn't even managed to succumb to. It wasn't just the fact that simply turning up on match day was like signaling to the opposition that we simply there for the taking (which, actually it turns out we were). No, it was the abject manner of planning, coaching, team selection and mind bogglingly bad performances. All of which made me realise pretty much straight away that even I couldn't stomach the masochistic nature of blogging about the catastrophe that was unfolding game by game. 

To be honest, our performances generally have merged into a collective sense of doom and depression in my memory as we were being beaten by practicaly all and sundry from the 1st class and Associate nations. The rumours that the Auckland under 5's Nursery XI, who were itching to play England to join in the England thrashing and bashing, were only turned down because Kevin Pietersen was trying to play for the Nursery XI, have yet to be confirmed.

Now THAT'S what I call an aggressive Test cricket shot - 
Oh god, I'm starting to sound like Geoff Boycott.....
So it was with a large modicum of relief that world cup calamity could be put behind us and that some proper Test Match cricket could at last take place. You remember Test Cricket don't you? It's the format of the game which actually still tries to have some balance between the batting and fielding side. It's the form of the game where a bowler can actually place fielders where they may actually get the batsman out before said batsman has accumulated his collection of six upon infinite six. 

Instead of being made to have just four (yes, bloody four!) fielders outside the 30-yard circle and only three (yes, just bloody three!) during a powerplay in Test cricket the fielding captain may employ other methods of getting a batsman out - instead of the ODI/T20 method of simply waiting for an attempted six to be mis-cued.

I know. Test Cricket is crazy eh? Bowlers can bowl, fielders can field where they want and batsman have to actually bat in more than one dimension. I know the IPL/ODI/T20 lovers may not recognise a format where a genuine fair battle takes place between bat and ball, they probably regard it as cricketing hell simply because there no fools in the crowd wearing their stupid corporate t-shirts and waiting to catch the ball one handed. Well who cares?

As you'll see form the tour itinerary below, it's not the longest of tours by any stretch of the imagination, something which is part due to the World cup competition itself, which lasted for a grand total of 4 months, 3 days, 8 hours and 25 minutes.

The fixtures (courtesy of the BBC website) for the series in the West Indies are as follows;

England in West Indies 2015


6-7 v St Kitts & Nevis Invitation XI, St Kitts (15:00 BST)

8-9 v St Kitts & Nevis Invitation XI, St Kitts (15:00 BST)

13-17 1st Test, Antigua (Sir Vivian Richards Stadium) (15:00 BST)

21-25 2nd Test, Grenada (15:00 BST)


1-5 3rd Test, Barbados (15:00 BST)

Cook & Trott back together....I may start to cry.
As I write this the first of the warm up games has finished it's first day with the St Kitts & Nevis Invitational XI being sent well and truly packing for just 59 runs. Whilst the news of the opposition being nicely scuttled in double quick time and the wickets being nicely shared between the front line seamers rather dandy. The thing that really did this bloggers heart good was the sight of Messrs Cook and Trott, not only walking out together to open the batting once again, but also both of them helped themselves to a bucketful of runs. Yes, that is Jonathan Trott, returning after his bout of illness that hit him during the calamitous tour down-under. To see him once again included in the squad and then to immediately hit some relative form was truly a joyous thing to behold. Welcome back, Trotty.

Now, I know what you're thinking - name that I'm getting all illogical and giddy after just one day against quite frankly pitiful opposition. All I will say is just please let me enjoy it for now, because England being England it means that somewhere along the line things are inevitably going to go pear-shaped. Yes we will be facing a below strength West Indies Test team (Chris Gayle for one won't be around, which is a shame) and by rights we should win the series - but I'm taking nothing for granted.

So no matter what, let us enjoy this series and savour a win if it happens. Forget the doomsayers for just a little while. After all, there is the little matter of the Ashes against the holders and current ODI champions - and that scares me just a little.

Brilliant! I made it through the whole of a cricket piece and only mentioned a certain KP just the once. Bugger, make that now twice..........

The full England squad for the West Indies tour is: 

Alastair Cook (capt, Essex), Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), Gary Ballance, Joe Root (both Yorkshire), Ian Bell (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Jos Buttler (wk, Lancashire), Jonathan Bairstow (wk), Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett (all Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Mark Wood (Durham), James Tredwell (Kent)

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